How & Where Onions are Grown

From Seed to Table

Onions are grown commercially in more than 20 states, literally border-to-border and coast-to-coast. The National Onion Association estimates that less than 1,000 growers produce onions commercially in the United States, including organic. Virtually all onion producers grow other agricultural crops.

The word "miracle" aptly describes a seed.

Jack Kramer

From planting through harvest, onions are unique plants. Let us help you learn more about how they grow through pictures!


Domestic Onion Production

U.S. farmers plant approximately 125,000 acres of onions each year and produce about 6.2 billion pounds a year. This includes organic production, but excludes bulb onions for dehydration.

The U.S. has 4.5% of the world's population, accounts for 1.6% of the world onion acreage, and produces about 4% of the world's annual supply. The U.S. dry bulb onion crop value exceeds $1 billion at farmgate and generates $5-7 billion dollars at consumer purchase level.

The top three onion producing areas are California, Idaho-Eastern Oregon, and Washington. See table the below for U.S. onion acreage and production details.

U.S. Planted Onion Acreage Estimates

State

Acres

Washington

22,828

Idaho-Eastern Oregon

21,000

California

17,850

Texas

13,600

Georgia

13,000

New York

8,750

Colorado

8,522

West/Central Oregon

5,825

New Mexico

5,000

Michigan

3,500

Nevada

2,900

Utah

1,750

Wisconsin

1,730

Other (FL, IA, IL, IN, MA, NC, NE, NJ, PA, SC, etc.)

1,050

N. Dakota/S. Dakota/Minn./Ohio

1,018

Arizona

500

U.S. Planted Onion Volume Estimates

State

Pounds

Idaho-Eastern Oregon

1,470,000,000

Washington

1,453,900,000

California

952,150,000

Texas

431,900,000

West/Central Oregon

362,000,000

Colorado

356,000,000

Georgia

315,900,000

Nevada

229,400,000

New York

226,600,000

New Mexico

212,200,000

Michigan

87,500,000

Utah

61,250,000

Wisconsin

57,950,000

Arizona

35,000,000

Other (FL, IA, IL, IN, MA, NC, NE, NJ, PA, SC, etc.)

33,850,000

N. Dakota/S. Dakota/Minn./Ohio

23,750,000


International Onion Production and Trade

Approximately 170 countries grow onions for their own domestic use, and many are also involved in international trade. It is estimated that over 9.2 million acres of onions are harvested annually around the World. This production is grown from more than 8 million pounds of seed. Production is in excess of 3.2 billion 50# units according to sources at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome, Italy. Approximately 8 percent of this global onion production is traded internationally. Leading onion production countries are China, India, United States, Turkey, and Pakistan, respectively.

Onion Exports

U.S. onion exports amount to 11 - 14 million fifty pound bags per year. Leading export countries for the U.S. are Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Taiwan.

Onion Imports

U.S. onion imports total 12 - 17 million 50 pound bags annually. Leading countries importing into the U.S. are Mexico, Canada, Peru, and Chile.


Food Safety

In 2010, the U.S. onion industry developed voluntary commodity specific food safety guidelines for the dry bulb onion supply chain. This document serves as guidance for growers and shippers to adhere to best practices and regulations governing safe vegetable production. The industry supports government efforts to provide a strong food safety regulatory framework that assures the public appropriate standards are in place and being met by the dry bulb onion supply chain.

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